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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Transplant patients, those in need and those awaiting surgery gathered on Thursday at New York Presbyterian Hospital-Cornell to celebrate the gift of life.
Susan Castro’s son, Damien, 17, is in desperate need of a kidney, so she is going to be his donor.
“For a parent to stand by and watch their child suffer, this is the best gift I can give my son, it really is,” Castro told CBS 2′s Dick Brennan. “I can’t tell you how much it means to be his donor. It means the world, because I’m giving him a normal life again.”
Castro was getting plenty of support where donors, patients, and family members gathered to talk about surviving and thriving in the years following surgery.
Identical twins Brian and Allen Leavy were each given a kidney by their parents. The brothers told CBS 2 that they can do anything.
“Lift weights, work out, all that stuff,” Brian said.
The boys’ mother, Evette, reflected on what it meant to be there for her sons.
“To be able to do it for our kids and give them life all over again is a special thing. You can’t beat that,” she said.
Many of the people gathered at the hospital on Thursday were a part of a “donor chain,” a pay-it-forward donation program. A stranger donates to a recipient and a member of the recipient’s family donates to another person in need.
Evan Hubbard’s father, Paul, told CBS 2 that he is very happy with the progress that he has seen in his 10-year-old son.
“He’s smart, doing well. He’s a really good kid,” he said.
Medical experts say that the surgery will not prevent kids from being kids.
“They have for the most part a pretty normal existence,” Dr. Sandip Kapur said.
With their Feb. 14 surgery approaching, Susan and Damien Castro said they are staying positive.
“She’s getting nervous, but I’m happy,” Damien said.
The chain donation program has boosted organ donorship by 30 percent, according to doctors.
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